March 24 COVID-19 Update


For our second week of daily updates, we have decided to change our format. While it remains our goal to provide you with concise, up-to-date, daily information in a quick and easy to read format, we have tried to make the updates less formal and more enjoyable during this difficult situation. Below are some important local links for continued updates.

Provincial Government

The Government of Ontario has posted their official list of essential workplaces that are permitted to be open during this new stage in the COVID-19 crisis. Organizations that are deemed essential are asked to ensure they have enacted policies for physical distancing and regular hand washing to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public. Businesses that do not fall under this list have been ordered to shut down operations by midnight tonight.
Today the Province has implemented enhanced measures to protect the safety of residents in long-term care homes. The temporary order will give long-term care homes the ability to free up valuable staff, identify staffing priorities and develop, modify and implement redeployment plans.
Ontario has launched a new business website named Ontario Together. The website is designed to remove barriers allowing Ontario’s manufacturing sector to re-deploy capacity towards the production of essential equipment like ventilators, masks and swabs. The interactive site also allows for dialogue between business and government in the area of supply-chain innovation.
The Ontario Ministry of Health has launched an enhanced and interactive assessment tool. This easy-to-use tool guides users through a series of questions to help people determine if they are negative or provide further guidance on where to seek care based upon their needs.
The Province’s Learn at Home online portal has been designed to provide parents with resources to allow students to continue their education while schools are closed. The program offers all students high-quality, made in Ontario math and literary resources with partners including TVO Kids, mPower and Mathify.

Federal Government

The Federal Government has closed national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas to all citizens and is suspending motor vehicle access. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment, released the following statement directed all at Canadians:
“The government’s top priority remains the health and safety of Canadians. The window to contain the spread of COVID-19 is short and we must all change our behaviours now to flatten the curve and reduce the burden on our health care system. I am asking all Canadians to follow the advice of public health experts, stay home, and undertake essential travel only. At this time, we are also asking Canadians not to visit Canada’s national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas. We must all work together to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
The Federal Government website now has a page devoted to the temporary wage subsidy for employers. With a frequently asked questions format, the page is designed to help employers figure out if they are eligible for the subsidy and how to calculate and apply.
Prime Minister Trudeau spoke yesterday about the need for Canadians to be vigilant about social distancing and self-isolation. In a candid speech he said “Enough is enough. Go home and stay home. This is what we all need to be doing, and we’re going to make sure this happens, whether by educating people more on the risks, or by enforcing the rules, if that’s needed. Nothing that could help is off the table.” This comment comes after Trudeau urged Canadians to, “follow the recommendations of our public health officials. We have to trust them and we have to listen.” The Government has a web page dedicated to prevention and risks that all citizens should read.

Business & Tourism Report

Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Perrin Beatty has produced a new video with information for small and medium-sized businesses. The COVID-19 Business Resilience video is titled “The Top 5 Things SMEs Need to Know”
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) keeps a tourism focused update page on their website. They have also published the results of their first industry survey. The summary report will be used to inform decisions made by government to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on tourism.
Our Regional Tourism Operator, RTO-12/Explorers’ Edge, keeps an updated list of resources for tourism operators. As well, they encourage everyone to fill out their latest survey which can be found in their most recent update.

Local & Member Updates

Today we have a couple of local updates from the Town of Huntsville and the Township of Lake of Bays.
In Lake of Bays, the Ridout Transfer Station will be closed, starting today, due to lack of staffing availability. If you have any questions, contact the District of Muskoka Waste Management at (705) 645-6747.
The Town of Huntsville has published a media release regarding precautionary changes to service of Huntsville Transit buses. Follow the link for details on routes and regulation changes.
Here are today’s member updates. A complete list of updates can be found on our COVID-19 Information page. If you would like to have your business updates included in future emails and online, send us your information to this email address: [email protected] or call us directly at 705-789-4771.
OpX Project + People Management has released a letter to employers as a resource to assist in making decisions regarding their business and employees. The letter, titled What Employers Need to Know, also contains helpful links for staying informed of current changes.
Peter Smith Construction owner, Peter Smith, has sent the following business status update: Peter Smith Construction will be temporarily ceasing operations due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Although residential construction was deemed an essential service, my feeling and that of the crew and subtrades is that the only way we can prevent the spread of this virus here in Muskoka, is to cease work on our sites for the time being. The projection is for 2 weeks, but whether this proves long enough is yet to be seen. We will be reviewing the situation at that time and updating our position. I have not come to this decision lightly. I feel the government’s position on what they are determining “essential” is far too broad and that we need to take these steps to protect ourselves, our families and the rest of the population.

Let Us Help

We have created a web page with resources and updates, including a survey for you to fill out about the status of your own business. Please take the time to complete the survey, to enable us to share your updates with fellow members and the community.

We also encourage you to provide us with insights about your current business status. Are you closed, open or do you have modified hours? Do you have changes in service or contact information you would like to share? Send us your updates to this email address: [email protected] or call us directly at 705-789-4771 and we will share your updates to the membership.

Further Resources

Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDA’s) are responsible for economic development and have issued an informative single-page document to help you understand their role and where you can reach out for assistance. You can contact FedNor for support for your business.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has published the following guide to assist businesses in working through the changes COVID-19 will have on your business.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has also published helpful resources for your business.
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has been given $10 billion to loan to small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. They have created a support webpage with links for small business loans, working capital loans and purchase order financing.
FedNor has requested that businesses fill out their FedNor COVID-19 Impact Form, which will allow them to better respond to rapidly changing needs. Please send FedNor this form and any other concerns you might have to this address.
Additional Resources:

Moving Forward

In this time we need to work together as much as possible to enable Huntsville and Lake of Bays to weather this situation and to position ourselves as the tourism leader once we are able to re-open our businesses and services to the public. If you have questions or need help finding the appropriate resources to assist you or your business, please reach out to us at the following address: [email protected]
From all of us at the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce team we urge you to stay safe and promise to do everything in our power to assist you in this difficult time.

Chamber of Commerce members can expect the best!

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